It's that time of year when fishing reports are hard to come by and fishing is unpredictable. But with the heat of summer, days that included unstable weather, and often a slow bite, anglers still churned out some decent catches.
Offshore, anglers closed out the American red snapper season with fish to 15 pounds caught in 140 to 165-foot depths. Most fish were caught on either cut sardines with a circle hook or heavy jigs tipped with sardines. Gag grouper up to 18 pounds were also caught from the same areas on live pinfish and grunts.
Closer to shore, red grouper up to 24 inches were caught in 60 to 65-foot depths southwest of Sanibel. Grouper, plus lane snapper and triggerfish were caught over Swiss cheese bottoms on squid, sardines and pinfish for baits. Gag grouper were reported by anglers trolling diving lures including Bomber CD-30's in 25 to 40-foot depths from west of Blind Pass north to Boca Grande. Several barracuda going over 4 feet were also caught and released while trolling.
All the way from Denmark: Bente & Peter Davidson left the cold weather of Denmark behind to spend a week on the sunny beaches of Sanibel. The couple spent a day fishing around Pine Island with Captain Bill Russell and caught a variety of fish including these two big trout that went home for dinner.
A few lucky anglers also hooked up with good sized grouper up to 30 inches in both Captiva and Redfish Passes. The best time to drift the passes was during the slower movement of the tides, within an hour before or after the change. Live baits including large pinfish and thread herring were the best baits.
Inshore fishing was hit and miss and often days were effected by unstable weather. In Pine Island Sound, trout were found around Red Light Shoals north of the power lines and over grass flats between Cabbage Key and Captiva Pass. During the early morning hours with calm water trout up to 20 inches were nailing top-water lures including Rapala Skitterwalks and Mirrolure Mirrodines. Later in the day fishing Berkley Gulp Shad or live pinfish under a rattling bobber in 4 to 8-foot depths was a better option.
Big high tides brought good opportunities for chasing redfish under the mangroves although many anglers did more chasing than catching. A few areas where angers found success included south Matlacha Pass east of McCardles Island and in the sound around the keys north of Demere. Fresh cut ladyfish steaks and live pinfish with the tail cut off fished deep under the shade of the mangroves worked on reds up to 28 inches. Kayak anglers also reported redfish on the shallow flats in the same area of the Sound in the early morning. Gold spoons, Bagley's jumping mullet and live shrimp worked for several reds, plus some nice trout and a few small snook.
The month is flying past, it's hard to believe but school will start in just a few short weeks. Let's make some time and get those kids on the water at least one more time before the grind of school begins.
Have a safe week and good fishin'.